Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 3271–3305, 2013

Special issue: New perspectives on Air-Ice Chemical Interactions (AICI) (ACP/ESSD...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 3271–3305, 2013

Review article 20 Mar 2013

Review article | 20 Mar 2013

The role of the global cryosphere in the fate of organic contaminants

A. M. Grannas1, C. Bogdal2, K. J. Hageman3, C. Halsall4, T. Harner5, H. Hung5, R. Kallenborn6, P. Klán7,8, J. Klánová8, R. W. Macdonald9,10, T. Meyer11, and F. Wania11 A. M. Grannas et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA
  • 2Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, 9010 New Zealand
  • 4Lancaster Environment Centre, Centre for Chemicals Management, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
  • 5Environment Canada, Science and Technology Branch, Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 6Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Christian Magnus Falsen vei 1, Postbox 5003, 1432, Norway
  • 7Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kamenice 5, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 8RECETOX, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kamenice 3, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 9Department of Environment and Geography, Centre for Earth Observation Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada
  • 10Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 4B2, Canada
  • 11Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto, ON M1C 1A4, Canada

Abstract. The cryosphere is an important component of global organic contaminant cycles. Snow is an efficient scavenger of atmospheric organic pollutants while a seasonal snowpack, sea ice, glaciers and ice caps are contaminant reservoirs on time scales ranging from days to millennia. Important physical and chemical processes occurring in the various cryospheric compartments impact contaminant cycling and fate. A variety of interactions and feedbacks also occur within the cryospheric system, most of which are susceptible to perturbations due to climate change. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge regarding the transport and processing of organic contaminants in the global cryosphere with an emphasis on the role of a changing climate. Given the complexity of contaminant interactions with the cryosphere and limitations on resources and research capacity, interdisciplinary research and extended collaborations are essential to close identified knowledge gaps and to improve our understanding of contaminant fate under a changing climate.

Final-revised paper